The plan, announced earlier this week, aims to 'rapidly reduce' dependence on Russian fossil fuels in the bloc and fast forward the transition to more sustainable power, such as solar energy or wind power.
Commenting on the plan, EuroCommerce director general Christel Delberghe welcomed the Commission's ideas, but stressed the need for support for the retail and wholesale ecosystem to drive the move away from imported fossil fuels.
Energy Prices 'A Major Challenge'
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine has made what were already high, and rising, energy prices now a major challenge to the EU economy and the well-being of its citizens," she said.
"Our sector is a significant user of energy –in operating its logistics, heating, lighting and refrigeration without interruption. But operating at very low margins, it needs help in investing in the technologies that can bring about change. Obligations to invest without matching support will lead to costs our sector cannot absorb and thus would have to pass on to consumers, creating new inflationary pressures on the customers we serve every day.”
Recovery and Resilience Facility
The Commission has proposed to amend the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) guidelines to provide funding for investment in alternative energy sources, a move that has been welcomed by EuroCommerce.
In addition, the body noted that the planned Solar Rooftops Initiative could offer opportunities for the retail sector – indeed, many European supermarkets and logistics centres already boast photovoltaic systems on their roofs.
At the same time, EuroCommerce said that obligation to invest must be accompanied by help in finding private and public funding, to enable the installation of such infrastructure.